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discussion and analysis presented after these
translated stanzas is our
opinion. Read the translations for yourself and our analysis, but also seek
out varied sources and come to your own conclusions.
STANZA 13 OF THE
Auden & Taylor:
I forget the name men give the heron
hovers over the feasts;
Fettered I was in his feathers that
When a guest in Gunnlod's court.
Over beer the bird
And steals the minds of men;
With the heron's feathers
fettered I lay
And in Gunnloth's house was held
Bellow's Note: The heron: the
bird of forgetfulness, referred to in line 1. Gunnloth: the
daughter of the giant Suttung from whom Othin won the mead of
poetry. For this episode see stanzas 104-110.
A bird of unmindfulness
flutters o'er ale
wiling away men's wits:
with the feathers of that fowl
was fettered once
in the garths of Gunnlos below.
The heron is called
hovers over men
stealing their minds
I was bound by that
when I was in Gunnloth's garth.
The heron of heedlessness hovers o'er the
and stealeth the minds of men.
With that fowl's
feathers fettered I was
when I was Gunnloth's
The mind-stealing heron
waiting to seize men's wits;
that bird's feathers
when I came to Gunnlod's court.
Oblivion's heron 'tis called
he steals the minds of men.
With this bird's
I was fettered
in Gunnlds dwelling.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
OF STANZA 13
Stanza's 10-14 sort of chain together...or
at least build on each other. Here, Stanza 13 continues and expands
on the topic of alcohol which was brought up in Stanza 11, and then
taken a little further in
Lines 1 and 2 give this very poetic image of
this heron or bird hovering over the feasting hall where alcohol is
served...stealing men's minds and making them forget.
Essentially, stealing their wisdom. And we've already been
told how important
And since the Havamal is presented to us as
wisdom being communicated to us by Odin (Odin is the narrator, is
probably a better way of saying that), then lines 3 and 4 refer to
the story of Odin winning (taking) the mead of Poetry from Gunnloth,
Suttung's daughter. In order to take the mead, Odin made a
deal with Suttung's brother, and then ended up forcing the brother
to help Odin get access to Gunnloth. Odin then seduces
Gunnloth, and drinks all of the mead of Poetry. So, these two
lines refer to Odin being affected by the heron (or bird) from the
first two lines...when he had consumed all of that mead
Bellows, in his note to Stanza 14 believes
that stanzas 13 and 14 were probably inserted into the Havamal over
time, as illustrations of the lesson about alcohol being shared in
11 and 12. If we understand these poems as being originally
part of a living, evolving oral-storytelling tradition...then we can
at least understand what Bellows
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